Friday, December 31, 2010
This is a true story of a boy in China who was interred, along with hundreds of others, in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. Yet it is an account more about children and their adventures than the atrocities of a death camp. And it includes glimpses of Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Liddell not included in Chariots of Fire. He was interred in the same camp as David and made a huge impact on David's life as well as the lives of all those who had any contact with him.
Just a couple (maybe more!) descriptions of their concentration camp:
"Sanitation was appalling; all agreed that the camp's Health Committee had one of the hardest tasks. The sewage system consisted of open cesspools, one of which was only yards from the side windows of our room. Gangs of Chinese coolies, with buckets hanging on each end of a pole across their shoulders, came in each day to fill up and splish-splash their way to the gate and out to their little fields, where they ran a thriving night-soil operation. The fetid stench floated in the kitchen-dining hall area where we were eating, or on hot summer nights it hung low over the camp in sultry, pungent clouds."
So, what are WE complaining about??? They lived this for over 3 years!
"Weihsein was a place of heroes....A situation like Weihsien is fertile soil for producing people of exceptional character. In our eyes, for instance, our teachers were heroes in the way they absorbed the hardships and fears themselves and tried to make life as normal as possible for us.
"But among many, one hero stands out. Not long after we had moved to Weihsien, another boy and I were playing a game of 'conkers' with an acorn suspended on a piece of string. My new-found friend looked up and said, "Do you know who that is coming up the camp road?"
"No," I said as I saw, approaching us with a spring-like walk, a strong, athletic-looking man in baggy shorts down to his knees and a shirt made out of curtain material."
"Why, don't you know? That's Eric Liddell, the Olympic Gold Medalist who wouldn't run on a Sunday."
"He was everybody's hero...an outstanding example of (his) kindness and self-sacrifice." He died there in the camp on February 21, 1945, after writing his last letter to his wife, who was in Canada with their three daughters at the time. She did not receive that letter, or the news of his death, for three months. "One wintry day in February, I was with our little group over by the hospital when we saw Eric walking under the trees beside the open space where he taught us children the play basketball and rounders. As usual he was smiling. As he talked to us, we knew nothing of the pain he was hiding, and he knew nothing of the brain tumor that was to take his life that evening."
I could quote the whole book! Just two more:
After being rescued (and that's an exciting tale!), "freedom was surprisingly hard to handle. We didn't know how to cope with running water, money, stores, new sights and open spaces. Our eyes were dazzled. We had our first swim, and as one of the teachers remarked, "We looked clean for the first time in years." That was at least a better response than the little boy whose memories knew nothing before Weihsien. When he saw the sea for the first time he said, "Mommy, look at that great big cesspool!"
"After we touched down at Parafield [in Australia], it slowly dawned on us that we were together as a complete family for the first time (the author is now 12 years old!). A new life began for the six of us. Joyce and I met our youngest sister Joan again; and our younger brother Brian, who was nearly four, we saw for the first time."
OK, you can put away the Kleenex box now! It was a beautiful story. David and his wife Joan, went back to Japan as missionaries for two terms, before he became OMF's (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) National Director for Canada.
This is truly a story of heroes.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Last night as five of us went to visit a dear friend who has gone through and is going through some tough times, I thought of this poem that Steve Moore kindly gave me permission to upload. Why does life seem unfair and unkind at times? I of course don´t have the answer to that, but God does. He is always with us, and His hedge around us is even bigger and higher than the famous one above in England, and..... well, read on.
by Steve Moore
Sometimes we think that God’s unfair
When untold burdens we must bear.
The hedge He places to protect
Can be misread, become suspect.
For though we’re safe as we abide,
We only see the thorny side.
Suffering God’s mysterious dealings,
We think He cares naught for our feelings.
If we could see from heaven’s view,
And know the good He plans to do,
We would relax, give in, let go,
And give God time His plan to show.
We see no value in the bramble,
But Satan does – it makes him tremble!
(He knows the power of our Lord;
He fears God’s terrible swift sword).
We may resist the hedge so stout –
But it keeps us in, and the devil out!
So, what about you, and what about me?
With eyes of faith someday we’ll see.
But now He waits for us to dare
To fully trust His loving care!
The hedge is placed for our protection;
It shows God’s grace, provides direction.
So don’t despair the hedge so rough…
God is there – and God’s enough!
Monday, December 27, 2010
There are a few things I miss from the States - actually, I can't think what at the moment! Oh yes, I do miss fresh cranberries, but this year Alan and Beth brought down quite a few and we had cranberry salad at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. A favorite!
Above you see my all-time favorite - plantains, fried in butter and oil. Add a little sugar, then cream! Unbelievably good!
A little story goes with this:
When Ken and I were dating, he was in Mexico one summer (I went home every summer of course) and he took me out for lunch. It was a small restaurant that had "comida corrida", in other words, a basic menu with three or four options for the main course. I chose platanos with crema! He had never experienced this delectable meal, and couldn't believe I was going to EAT that! And yes, it was DELICIOUS. Of course after that first experience, Ken learned to LOVE platanos and we had them every chance we could get!
May not look like salsa, but the bowl has all the needed ingredients except cilantro. We didn't have any on hand, so I guess the salsa has to wait till tomorrow!
A Christmas favorite, a hot punch made of fruits. Here's how you make it:
1/4 kilo tejocotes (1/4 kilo is about 1/8 of a pound)
1/4 kilo tamarinds
1/4 kilo guayabas
1 or 2 pieces of sugar cane
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar
Half fill a large pot with water. Cut guayabas in fourths. Dump in. Cut sugar cane in little pieces, then in fourths lengthwise. Put tejocotes in a little water in a pan and heat. When hot and the skins peel easily, remove them and peel. Either dump them in whole or cut the fruit away from the seed (Discard seed!! Please!). Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, then let boil till the fruits are soft.
Can't get those ingredients? If you live anywhere near a Mexican store, you might be able to get canned tejocotes and guayabas. They work, but add less sugar if you use them. Sugar cane - can't help you there. Although some Mexican stores have them. Tamarind - you MIGHT be able to find that as well.
Sometimes we add a couple liters apple or pineapple juice to the mix. If you do that, put less sugar in. Other ingredients could be: apples cut up, rosa jamaica.
If you absolutely can't find any of these ingredients, just come on down to Mexico for Christmas and we'll be happy to serve you up a cup of delicious PONCHE!
Friday, December 24, 2010
I just finished reading R.A. Torrey, Apostle of Certainty by Dr. Roger Martin. What an excellent book! I, of course - as do many of you - know about Torrey-Grey Auditorium at Moody Bible Institute, but I had never thought of the MEN behind that name! Now I know a lot about Torrey - I guess the next book needs to be about Grey! Although in this book, Grey is referred to several times.
What a great man was Reuben Archer Torrey! And one of the most humble I have ever read about. We all have heard of the incredible preaching of D.L. Moody, but Torrey was also an amazing preacher and soul-winner!
For fear of boring you, I MUST quote some wonderful passages and quotes of Torrey from this book.
"His most telling words were in the form of a challenge.
You, who think we need a new Bible, something better than the Bible, the
old Bible, an expurgated Bible, take heed to our experiences. Eighteen
months of preaching its Gospel, thirty thousand men and women won to
Christ, proves that the Bible, the old Bible, is what the world needs, what
the twentieth century needs." (page 164).
The end of the book contained his sermon on Why I Believe the Bible to Be the Word of God. Wow! I may have to copy that and translate it into Spanish!
"One day as he was speaking on "Why I Believe the Bible to Be the Word of God," two men promptly stood up, evidently at a given signal, to question the preacher. One was in the center of the auditorium; the other, in the gallery behind the speaker. Both began speaking at once. Torrey hesitated but a moment before a wondering congregation and pointed his finger at the man before him, "What is your name?" The man tried to evade the query, but Torrey repeated his statement. The sharp, stentorian tones of the preacher caused the man to waver a little. Then Torrey said, "Gentlemen, this man is ashamed of his name, and I am ashamed of him." The objector sank into his chair. In the meantime the man in the gallery had become quiet. But Torrey turned sharply upon him, "Are you ashamed of your name also?"
The incident was closed. Torrey had little patience with an insincere or interrupting critic. For instance, there was the time when one of his questioners asked, "Seeing you claim to be so much like Christ, will you kindly tell us if you can walk on water?" The crowd laughed, but as the merriment ceased, the speaker said, "Yes, I can walk on water. . . (long pause) much better than I can on whiskey!" (page 186)
"I rise when I have slept enough. I exercise with dumbbells until the kinks are out
of my muscles, and then I jump into a tub of cold water. Then breakfast. Diet? Oh,
no. Whatever is put before me. I always manage to get in a brisk walk after break-
fast. If I have time, I take a long jaunt. But before that I must dictate letters. This
is my most perplexing duty. . . .After my walk I return to my hotel to study and
think. . . .My day's work begins with the noon meeting, and from then on, except
for brief intervals, I have no rest until nearly midnight.
The strain is sometimes intense, but I do not resort to stimulants to help me bear
it. . . .For the rest I never worry. I have always been strong and healthy. . . .God has
been good to me." (Page 205-206)
Just one more, a very poignant one. His son Reuben and his bride spent a short time with them before leaving for China. The evening they left was unforgettable. The Torreys went to the station with them, waved to them till they were out of sight, not a tear shed. But...
"We did not say much that evening to one another, but when I got to bed I
could hold in no longer, and lay there and sobbed and sobbed. Mrs. Torrey
tried to comfort me, but I needed no comfort. Through my tears and sobs
my heart was rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory at the privilege
of giving my only son to live for the God and Father who had given His Only
Son to die for me."
Wow! Brings back memories of when Ken and I left for the mission field! I'm almost certain that is what was on the hearts of his folks, who DID shed a few tears before us as we were getting ready to leave!
I loved every page of this book! Please look for it! Read it! Borrow it! Steal it! (Just kidding)
Thanks so much, Kim, for loaning it to me! It has been a wonderful blessing to me!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
For anyone who has visited Mexico City and ridden in one of our famous taxis, you know it can be an exciting – and sometimes scary – adventure! Usually I don’t have a problem with the taxi drivers. Hey, they’re just being normal Mexican taxi drivers after all!
But a week ago yesterday, my taxi driver from the bus station to the airport scared me! Really scared me! As soon as I got in, I should have gotten out! First, right there at the bus station there’s a crosswalk for pedestrians, and my driver just barreled through, not letting the pedestrians through (and there were plenty). My first thought was, Wow, he’s certainly impolite! And unkind!
(BTW, the green and white cars are the taxis)
Then all the way to the airport, he barged into traffic, changing lanes constantly, almost hitting other cars, trucks, buses, whatever, every 2 to 3 seconds! I was holding on, trying to stay calm! Whew! At one point he tried to pass a double semi - on the right of course – and nearly got squashed! I wouldn’t have minded if he got squashed, but I was in the car too!
He tried to avoid the big, busiest streets, so was winding in and out of little back streets. Well, we finally came out onto a six lane street with a thousand or so cars (I don’t think I’m exaggerating!), trucks and buses heading our way. And he wanted to go ACROSS this street! Well, no problem for this unkind, impolite, crazy, mean driver! He just edged out until the first lane of cars had no choice but to give way, then he edged out to the second lane, the third, fourth, fifth and finally on the sixth, the oncoming car saw him BARELY in time! Screech! That was the only time I lost my cool and let out a little gasp! It definitely didn’t improve his driving though!
I decided that next time, BEFORE I get into a taxi at the bus station, I’m peeking in to see if my UNFAVORITE driver is there, and if he is, I’ll happily wait for the next taxi!
I'm working my way through a poetry book called "Harvesting Fog" by Luci Shaw. Most of her poems - after several puzzled readings - remain a mystery to me. Can you tell I'm not a REAL poetry person? But now and then one just jumps out at me and speaks to my heart. The following is one of those.
by Lucy Shaw
Who on earth saw him first, knowing
surely who he was? Belly to belly, when
John, prophet in utero, distinguished
in the natal soup the fetal bones, the body
curled like a comma, eyes tight, skull
packed with universal wisdom,
this unborn cousin began to dance.
And when she, birth-giver---
her ordinary vision arrowed down between
her legs, through pain and straw; to her son's dark
slime-streaked hair, to his very skin, red with
the struggle of being born--she lifted him
to her breast, kissed the face of God,
and felt her own heart leap.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I will copy some of his musings, for your interest and amusement!!
"There were thirteen children
in the family,
thirteen of us.
There was Bill
We were quite a while
before we could ever be
like people ought to be -
we were like little devils.
There were a lot of us
- thirteen of us.
It took a lot to feed us."
"When I was young
I used to jump through a broomstick.
And I could leapfrog;
I used to be an awful boy to leapfrog,
jump just as far as anybody on my hands and knees,
and I could kick my hat off
or do a somersault into the air.
then come right back down
and land on my feet.
And I could jump fences.
Now I can't step over my own feet
without falling down."
"I was up in Eskimo country once
and all the candies -
the kids in Eskimo country don't get candies -
they take a bone
a hollow bone
and fill it full of seal grease.
When the baby gets crying
they'll give the bone to the baby
to suck on.
They do that for candy;
that's candy for a kid."
This one should bring back some memories to the Hanna bunch:
"They used to hire me
to witch wells.
I used to take the crotch of a willow
and point that to the ground.
It'd lead me to water every time.
Same thing with metals.
I can take a steel rod
and tell you where there's mineral;
or a compass -
a compass will just spin round and round."
I saw my brother in law (I won't say "witch" one!) witch for water! And you know, he never missed!!
This one is one of my favorites:
"I was on the Harlow Road one time, going to the back of Weslemkoon. I was working into a mill at that time. At quitting time I came out with another fella and I had everything on my back and my coat on my arm. He went around with his horse and I cut across country through the woods past the mill.
I came up to an old bush shanty and I was a big bear. There was a wagon road nearby and a bridge, so I said, "I'll hurry up and get down to that bridge and I'll give that bear a scare."
I ran down to the bridge and she was coming right on till I was as close to her as I am to you and I said,"Where you going?"
"Agh!" she said, and she spit right in my face.
So I said, "Hold on, old girl, that's too much."
I throwed my coat down and I hit her a swat but she come again and when she come again I hauled off just all that was into me and I just jumped and I drove her on the nose, hard as I could. She stood there holding on to her nose. I fought that bear, and she with her mouth wide open. I drove her so hard I made her toenails jingle. I just knocked her cold - with that hand. That knocked that thumb out of place when I hit her.
I hit her so hard I drove her till there was no name for her.
She took all back that she said.
That's true. If it isn't true, where are you going to find a witness?"
If you wanna borrow this book, just holler! It was definitely FUN READING!
Monday, December 20, 2010
My role was to assist Grace Becker in feeding the 9 musicians from Michigan, North Carolina and other places (I forget where!) who had given of their time and talents to become a part of the Coro Unido. For some of them, this is their fifth time to come - they love doing it!
Terry Vanderwerf is the director of this amazing choir as well as the entire production of The Incomparable King, but he couldn't do it without hundreds of people who are behind him helping in too many ways to count! It is a truly amazing production, giving the Gospel story from beginning to end and I was privileged to be a small part of it!
The pictures don't even begin to show how incredible it was! The fantastic orchestra and over 250 voices were simply amazing. I went to both performances and could have gone to three more, if there had BEEN three more, and enjoyed it just as much!
During the scene of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a tiny baby, the tiny baby was just two weeks old! It brought tears to many eyes as we listened to Joseph sing his version of what it must have been like to be Joseph!
When the kings arrived to worship, the baby was a little child! He behaved beautifully and as the kings presented their gifts, he held out his arms as if to receive them! It was a very touching scene! (I don't think his reaction was rehearsed!)
I asked Terry if he was going to bring the Coro Unido to our area next year, and he just groaned! It will be at least two years before this wonderful event happens again. But God was glorified through it - many are coming to know Jesus as their Savior through the beautiful music, the narration, the testimonies, and the short message given by our beloved Rene Zapata.
Next time they perform, I invite you to come! I'll even pay your ticket - to the concert, not your plane ticket!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This year for our ladies Christmas dinner, it was unanimous (except for me!) that we have lasagna as the main course! And I was voted as the one to make it! It was accompanied with a lettuce and apple salad, rolls, and bunuelos for dessert! Everything was delicious - even the lasagna, and especially the bunuelos! Go to http://rollybrook.com/bunuelos.htm to see how to make them! Looks like a lot of work to me! Ours, made by Maru, were drizzled with sugar and piloncillo, which is the raw sugar cane sweetness - luscious!
Ivonne led us in some fun games. I briefly shared a Christmas article we had just that week uploaded to ObreroFiel, on how to make Christmas more meaningful for their families.
Several kids joined us, as did the young people who had their weekly reunion at the same time! They were happy to help us finish up the delicious meal! And not a crumb of bunuelos was left! In fact, not a crumb of anything was left!
We exchanged cups which were filled with all sorts of things - especially candy! Reyna, who struggles to support herself and her three grandchildren, thought her typical cups from the market were too "poor" to share, but when one of them was opened, several ladies thought to themselves, "I wish I'd gotten that one!" They were beautiful!
Monday, December 13, 2010
I was going to put up a Christmas poem, but this one caught my eye and I couldn't resist! I've been going through dozens of Quick Cooking Magazines that a friend who went to live in the States left here at my house! They have some fun stuff, but mostly it's cooking we can't do here in Mexico (you know, "Use refrigerated crescent rolls" (what are THOSE???), "Ground turkey" (what???), "instant pudding" (INSTANT?? pudding?), "1 can lemon pie filling" (I wish!), etc. Cooking isn't quite as fast here as in the U.S. but the following poem definitely got my vote! Not that I do much cooking around our house!! That's usually Bethie's job - except when she twists her knee playing with the kids, which she managed to do a couple weeks ago - me, Doña Meche, and the roasted chicken place down the street have produced some great meals at our house lately!
Anyway, here´s my great poem! Maybe some of you could use it on your spouse!
Making a Point
By Ruth Lawhorn
After a hectic day of grocery shopping and cooking, Ruth Lawhorn of Knoxville, TN says, “I wrote this poem and taped it to the refrigerator, where my husband Carl, was sure to see it.”
I´m in the kitchen every day
as I have been for years.
Early morning, noon and night,
cooking for my dear.
I mince and chop and peel and pare,
I boil and stew and fry with care.
Sauté and roast and make a cake,
I whip and beat before I bake.
Now I’m getting old and weary,
and tired of standing on my feet.
Why doesn’t my dear husband
ever take me out to eat?
I soon found my note replaced with this message:
My poor wife is all put out,
and that’s what this poem’s all about.
She doesn’t want to cook anymore,
and says it’s not what she lives here for.
In my fashion, I try to help some,
she knows that Mars is where I come from.
Cooking and cleaning are no easy task,
but if she wants to eat out, why doesn’t she ask?
Since the two have been married for more than 56 years, we’ll let you guess if they went out for dinner!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Can you imagine anything worse than a young son killing his own family?
I can't either.
But of course we know it happens. Horrible things happen in families, some of them beautiful, happy, CHRISTIAN families!
And that's what Murder by Family is about. Someone describes the book as "a captivating, heart-wrenching, emotion-evoking journey of a father who is betrayed by a son he deeply loves. This book reads like a novel, but grips the heart with tenacity because it's the true story of a man who loses the people he loves most and then willfully chooses to forgive the perpetrator."
It's not just a book of murder, it's a book of God-given forgiveness. Something we all need.
I'm reading another book too! I often have a couple books going at once - I'm not sure how I keep them separate in my mind, but do manage to! I'll tell you later about that book - it's also fascinating!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Not by anyone "famous", but by ordinary people, just like you and me!
So, today I want to share one that meant so much to me when I first read it, and means more each time I review it.
By Steve Moore
Who kindly granted me permission to share
We leave our fingerprints on everything we touch. This is one sure way thieves and murderers can be identified. But it isn’t just the unique identity of our body that we cannot hide, for everything we are, revealed in our words and our silences, in our actions and our attitudes, in our tempers and our temperaments, comes out wherever we go, and rubs off on everyone we meet. Like footprints in new fallen snow, we leave heartprints wherever we go.
A beautiful prayer by an unknown author is quoted in the November 22, 2006 issue of Our Daily Bread.
“Oh God, wherever I go today, help me leave heartprints of compassion, understanding and love, of kindness and genuine concern. May my heart touch a lonely neighbor or runaway daughter or anxious mother or aged grandfather. Send me out today to leave heartprints. And if someone should say, ‘I felt your touch,’ may it be Your love that touched them, through me. Amen.” Amen indeed!
It matters little where you are,
But oh, it matters much
To bring the essence of God’s presence
To everything you touch.
Every person is a pebble,
His world is a pond
The ripple effect will make a connect
Nearby and far beyond.
While walking in new fallen snow,
Wherever your path may wind,
The way you go all men will know
By the tracks you leave behind.
A man’s unique identity
Is easily revealed;
His fingerprint will give the hint
Of what was once concealed.
And every kindergarten child
All throughout the land
Learns to display in plaster clay
The print of his own hand.
The print of finger, foot or hand
Is how each does his part
To make his claim of simple fame –
But what about the heart?
Each time you walk into a room,
Whatever you do or say,
Your heart will spill for good or ill
On those who pass your way.
What will your heartprints say about
The person you’d like to be?
Fussing, complaining, on parades raining –
Is that what others will see?
Or will that room just brighten up
With light from heaven above,
As you bring a touch that means so much,
That feels like God’s own love?
Oh that this crazy world would,
From words and deeds so kind,
Be better since it sees the prints
Your heart has left behind!
From Heading Home, Essays and Poems Vol. II, Pp. 57-58. By Steve Moore.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Well, tonight it will go down to 31 degrees here in San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, MEXICO. That's 31 in Fahrenheit, not Celsius!
No wonder our office is so cold! With those brick walls and one tiny window that is covered by the building next door! Brrr! Today we broke down and bought propane gas to turn on our little space heater! That helped some, but we still wore our coats, scarves, half-gloves (so we can still type!) and knee blankets!
Not to mention our house! It's mighty chilly in here! I have a little propane gas heater that I've used once this winter - and will probably be using it some more. It keeps a little bit of the space warm and I try to sit or stand in that space when it's running!
It does warm up during the day to a nice 74 degrees. Outside, that is. To warm up, we find any excuse to go outside: talk to the neighbor, play with Peanut the dog, just stand in the sun, doesn't matter! Warm is what matters!
Would you believe warm scarves and hats are popular here? Geraldine, a young gal in my church knits very cute and creative scarves and hats. I've bought several from her, both for gifts and to keep myself warm!
Didn't I leave my winter coat somewhere?!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Justin putting the finishing touch on that PERFECT cookie!
He then asked "Aunt Bethie" to look. She glanced, but apparently didn't REALLY LOOK!
So Justin said, "No, look with your eyes!"
I wore mine all day today, in and out of the house!
They went home happy with lots of lovely cookies!
And I'm sure Papa Jason was happy to see them,
but especially the cookies!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
RIGHT WHERE WE LIVE
By Connie Campbell Bratcher
Grieving souls needs comfort and care.
Those who are lonely need someone there.
The brokenhearted could use a friend
To lean on as they heal and mend.
Little children need lots of love,
And training in the ways of the Father above.
Souls that are searching need to know the way
To our Lord and Saviour who lives today,
Ready to forgive and set men free
Regardless of what their sins may be.
So many needs in our world around,
Help us, Lord, to always be found
Reaching out, a helping hand to give,
Making a difference right where we live.